Instead, it's yet another sure sign of the SEC's increasing parity and balance.
The SEC West entered this past
weekend with an 10-16 record in SEC road games. The skid extended to 10-17 on
Still, that's hardly a disturbing trend or a sign of impending doom for the SEC.
"This is my 16th year in the
league, and I've never seen anything like this in 16 years," said
The SEC has long held the
reputation of a football conference as good if not better than any in the
nation. Basketball, for the most part, was seen as
The perception and reality have changed dramatically in recent seasons, particularly last year when the SEC sent six teams to the NCAA Tournament and Florida and LSU reached the Final Four before the Gators won it all.
This season, the SEC is more
dangerous than ever. Four weeks into the season,
While all of those games might appear to be technical "upsets," SEC coaches and players know different.
"I'm not just playing some party
line, but I don't think it's close,"
"We're a team picked to be last in
our division, and we're not bad.
The only problem with all that parity and balance is that it might lead to several 9-7, 8-8 and 7-9 teams in the final SEC standings. While the SEC Tournament committee will look at RPI, strength of schedule and several other factors in addition to conference records, it makes for a lot of drama and intensity within the SEC season.
The only way for a team to separate itself from the pack is to win on the road, something that's become increasingly difficult to do.
"If someone doesn't have the
ability to go on the road and win, there's going to be a bunch of 8-8 teams,"
Hold on to your seats and buckle up. This is not a ride for people with heart ailments or pregnant women.
After a last-second 78-76 loss at
"Unlike any other situation in this country, your First Amendment rights are taken from you when it comes to (commenting on officiating)," Felton said. "We can talk about every single part of the game except that part. Obviously we can't have a do-over, so the game goes down as a loss and there is no recourse.
"Officials will keep officiating for as long as they want to keep officiating. There just isn't any recourse."
The only recourse is to send films and an official complaint to Gerald Boudreaux, the SEC's supervisor of officials, but even that won't change the outcome of a game that counts as a loss for the Bulldogs. If it helps, perhaps Felton can take some satisfaction if and when the SEC takes action against referee Tom Lopes for his performance in the Alabama-Georgia game. Even then, if Lopes is reprimanded or suspended, the SEC will not comment or confirm the action.
"There will be the normal review
process and it will conclude when I look at the clips Dennis sent," Boudreaux
Boudreaux told the AJC "there were some plays missed" by the officiating crew but also said that sort of thing is going to happen "because of the talent and athleticism of the players."
"As long as a human element is involved there will be mistakes, but we want to keep them to a minimum," Boudreaux said. "But as far as accountability and recourse, it's all in place."
For all the positive things that
have occurred with the
On Dec. 31, 2005,
"This is a tragedy for everyone
involved – family, friends, coaches and classmates,"
"John was an absolute pleasure to know and recruit," said assistant coach Steve Brown, who recruited Keye. "He was very polite and respectful and always had a smile on his face. Everyone I talked to at his school had nothing but good things to say about him. My heart goes out to his family, school and community. He will be deeply missed."
In more positive news for the Wildcats, it appears more and more likely that sophomore quarterback Curtis Pulley will redshirt the 2007 season in hopes of competing for the chance to replace Andre Woodson as the Wildcats' starting quarterback in 2008.
In fact, Pulley isn't enrolled in school for the spring semester. Instead, Pulley plans to re-enroll in August and then sit out the 2007 football season.
Pulley is a talented athlete who has also played some receiver for the Wildcats and developed a penchant for blocking kicks, but he lost out to Woodson in the competition for the starting job last spring and Woodson went on to become one of the nation's best quarterbacks in 2006.
With Woodson returning for his senior season in the fall, Pulley could have moved to receiver, continued to move back and forth between quarterback and receiver, or put his career on hold for one season. With Pulley out of the picture for now, the Wildcats will turn to redshirt freshmen Will Fidler and Mike Hartline as Woodson's backups.
There's more help on the way for
Bruce Pearl's young
Prince originally considered transferring to Vanderbilt, but Prince said he became frustrated with the admissions office's concerns about accepting a mid-term transfer.
Prince was rated the nation's No.
21 prospect out of high school in 2005 but never found his place at
"It's time to get back to work,"
Prince said. "
Jones, South Carolina's 2006 Mr. Basketball and one of the nation's top 50 senior prospects coming out of high school, recently enrolled at South Carolina and will be eligible following the fall semester.
Jones' decision makes him the
third in-state player to return home and join the Gamecocks in the past year.
Guard Devan Downey spent a year at
Yes, it's baseball season, and
teams are getting ready throughout the nation's top conference. One team,
Preseason All-American center
fielder Julio Borbon,
That's not going to help the Vols,
but at least the timing gives coach Rod Delmonico some time to make some
"No one's going to replace Julio," Delmonico said. "We don't have anybody on the bench that's going to replace him. We've got to fill his shoes and just hold it together until he gets back."
Ready or not, the conference
schedule kicks in the weekend of March 16-18. Eight SEC teams are ranked in
Collegiate Baseball's Top 40, led by
Richard Scott is a Birmingham-based sports writer, author and featured columnist in Tiger Rag. Reach him at email@example.com.